In an ideal world, everyone would always get along and our feelings would never get hurt. Unfortunately, we live in a world that sin has entered so sometimes we’re not going to get along with others and our feelings will sometimes get hurt by others. This is when forgiveness comes in to play. The Bible speaks a good deal not only about our need to forgive others, but also about our need to be forgiven by God when we sin against him. Below are 11 verses on what the Bible has to say about forgiveness.
1. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Forgiveness isn’t always easy to give, but when you think about everything that God has and will forgive us for, we don’t really have a good excuse not to forgive others.
2. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heal burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:17-21 NIV
When someone wrongs us, the easy thing to do is to retaliate. God says to instead live at peace with others and to repay evil with good. Repeating someone who wrongs you with kindness is usually going to drive them crazy anyways because they realize that they don’t have a hold on you like they would like to.
3. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”
1 Chronicles 21:8 NIV
David had sinned against God and knew that it was essential that he ask God to forgive him. It is important that we ask God for forgiveness when we mess up & look to change our hearts!
4. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
This one hits home pretty hard. If we can’t forgive those around us, how do we expect God to forgive us? We need to be Christ-like and extend to others the same forgiveness we look to God for.
5. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
Jesus is saying that we should forgive others as many times as needed. We don’t have to keep putting ourselves in situations where we know we will most likely get hurt, but we need to forgive others as many times as needed.
6. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John 8:7 NIV
Who are we to judge and withhold forgiveness when we aren’t perfect either. Before we cast stones at others, we need to examine others.
7. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
” No one, sir, ” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
John 8:10-11 NIV
Here, Jesus gives an important lesson. When we’re forgiven, it should lead to a change in our lives. We can’t ask forgiveness for something we’ve done and then go back to living like before and keep repeating the infraction. If we do that, our apology is just empty words.
8. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12 NIV
When we ask God for forgiveness, He forgives us and removes our sin far away from us.
9. Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
Hebrews 10:17 NIV
God remembers our sins no more when He forgives us. Going by His example, we shouldn’t hold past mistakes that have been forgiven against others.
10. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 NIV
People are going to make mistakes and when they do, we should be willing to forgive them because God forgives us when we mess up as well.
11. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.
Mark 11:25 NIV
Forgiveness is not always an easy task, but the Bible makes it clear that it is an essential part of Christian life. If we expect God to forgive us if our sins, shouldn’t we extend that same forgiveness to others? When you’re struggling with any aspect of your life, it may help you to turn Scripture into prayer and ask God to change your heart and attitude towards the person you need to forgive. Withholding forgiveness is going against what God says to do and gives Satan a foothold in your life.
Is there someone you need to forgive in your life? Maybe they haven’t asked you for forgiveness or they may not even know that they have hurt you. Pray for your heart and attitude toward the person to change and forgive them. You’ll find that your life will be much happier without the weight of anger and a grudge on your shoulders.